GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The A's are in trouble this season if Yoenis Cespedes can't work his way out of his current funk.

There are exactly two weeks left for the Oakland left fielder to emerge from the .111 average he has now in time for the opener March 31 against Cleveland.

"My mind is OK," Cespedes said after Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, in which he went 0 for 2 with a walk. "I'm going to be good (for the season)."

The A's are counting on Cespedes to be the cleanup hitter as they go for their third straight A.L. West title in 2014. But Cespedes came into Sunday's game with seven RBIs and two extra-base hits, both doubles.

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 15:  Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the Oakland Athletics bats against the San Francisco Giants during the spring training game at
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 15: Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the Oakland Athletics bats against the San Francisco Giants during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 15, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The A's defeated the Giants 8-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) (Christian Petersen)

Manager Bob Melvin talks about balls Cespedes has hit hard without results, but there are plenty of at-bats when he's not hit the ball well. Melvin has noticed the frustration of his third-year left fielder.

"Maybe, yes," Cespedes said when asked if he's feeling frustrated. "I try to do my best, but there's nothing going on."

He hasn't been very patient during his at-bats. His first-inning walk Sunday is his only base on balls in 39 trips to the plate this spring.

Cespedes came to spring talking about wanting to develop a shorter swing. And about six mornings out of seven, before formal workouts begin, he can be found in the batting cages behind the right field wall at Phoenix Municipal Stadium working with hitting coach Chili Davis.


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But taking the results from the cages into games has been more difficult than expected. Davis said Cespedes, a .292 hitter as a rookie in 2012 before falling to .240 last year, is pushing for perfection, and that's getting him in trouble.

"Ces expects perfection every time," Davis said. "It frustrates him that he's not perfect every time. It's not a bad thing, but you have to understand that this game is an imperfect thing. That's why hitting .300, you're great. I'm just trying to get him to hit the ball hard seven times and hope that three of those seven fall in for hits."

After hitting 23 homers as a rookie in 2012, Cespedes' total climbed to 26 last year. But there was the 52-point drop in his batting average, and his strikeouts increased from 102 to 137 in only 42 more at-bats. His power was more streaky.

"He puts in some really hard work," Melvin said. "Sometimes he'll get angry and want to hit the ball a mile."

That's a pattern the A's say Cespedes needs to avoid.

"He's going to get power from that short swing," Davis said. "I want him thinking, 'I don't need to force it.' I don't want him to work from the frustration standpoint. The thing I keep preaching to him is to just focus on the swing. Just focus on what you are trying to accomplish. It's not going to be perfect every time. You can make great swings and pop the ball up."

Cespedes, who said he's trying to stay mentally strong, says he's having trouble transforming his long swing into a shorter one, that his leg rotation is still not right.

  • Shortstop prospect Addison Russell was the most prominent of eight players moved to the minor league camp Sunday morning. The club had wanted to keep Russell until the Bay Bridge Series against the Giants on March 27-29, but he is slowed by a hamstring injury. Also demoted were pitchers Fernando Nieve, Philip Humber, Deryk Hooker, Darwin Perez and Matt Buschmann, catcher/first baseman Luke Montz and infielder Jose Martinez.

  • Josh Donaldson came out of the game after the top of the fourth inning with what was described as a right calf injury. "It was a little tightness," Melvin said. "He could have played. But anytime I hear that about someone like Josh, he's coming out of the game." Donaldson is expected to play Tuesday against the White Sox. He was scheduled for an off-day Monday.

  • Sonny Gray gave up six hits and three runs (two earned) in three-plus innings. His ERA for the spring is now 6.30.

  • Ryan Cook (shoulder) threw to hitters as he continues to make strides toward full health. Craig Gentry (back) took half a batting practice session, hitting against coaches. Fernando Rodriguez (Tommy John surgery) throws in a simulated game Monday. Eric O'Flaherty (Tommy John surgery) throws a bullpen session Tuesday.

    For more on the A's, see John Hickey's Inside the A's blog at ibabuzz.com/athletics. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JHickey3.